Friday, 19 July 2013

Game 32: Neuromancer - Final Rating

It feels like ages since I last applied the PISSED rating system to a game. I've taken a quick skim over some previous scores, just to get my calibrations set. I have a feeling that Neuromancer is going to get a bit punished, since it falls down in quite a few areas that one would normally attribute to a decent adventure game. Let's see how it fares...

Puzzles and Solvability
The truth is that there are very few puzzles in Neuromancer to solve, which probably seems strange when you consider that I spent close to twenty hours playing it. Just as in Mean Streets, the aim of the game is more about gathering information (from bases in Neuromancer and from interrogations in Mean Streets) and then applying it once the right opportunity arises. In fact, despite their contrasting styles and themes, the abovementioned games have quite a bit in common (which is probably why my methodical approach gave me so much comfort). That being said, while there were quite a few typical inventory based puzzles in Mean Streets (ie. use key on drawer), there are next to none in Neuromancer (using the gas mask to get the superdeck is a rare example), although one could argue that the use of skills and software merely replaced traditional items in an inventory. Probably the biggest similarity between the two games though is the way the player can cheat with no repercussions. Once you’ve spent loads of money to gain information, you can simply restore your game back to prior to spending it and yet still retain the information via screenshots or a notepad. A clear example of this is the whole Irish cop part of the game, where my character used the CopTalk skill to gain loads of information from the unbelievably stupid cop in Donut World. Once I took screenshots of all his answers, I could safely play through the game without ever purchasing CopTalk or visiting Donut World at all.


He's not kidding either!

Neuromancer therefore became a game of thoroughly investigating certain locations or bases, taking screenshots of everything on the way, and then restoring with the intention of either rushing through it all again taking the most cost effective path or simply never visiting the site again. I find it hard to believe that anyone could comfortably complete the game (for the first time) without this kind of “cheating”. The other issue that I should raise here is that the player becomes so powerful towards the end of the game, that all the ICE and AI battles just become longwinded formalities. I’ve been pretty negative so far though, so I’ll turn to some of the positives that I did find for this category. Firstly, some of the puzzles are clever and satisfying, particularly the ones where the player causes change elsewhere in the world by hacking into bases and editing information. Two examples of this are adding Larry Moe’s name to the Chiba Police warrant list to remove him from his store and adding your own details to the Hosaka employee list so you can show up at the office and collect your weekly salary. If the game had more of this sort of stuff and less of the repetitive levelling up, then I wouldn’t have to be so harsh with my scoring. Secondly, while the game is confusing and difficult, the upside is that making serious progress brings with it a huge sense of satisfaction and reward. It may not be something I should praise the developers for, but I sure felt fantastic when I finally nailed this one! I’ll have to give the game the same P score I gave Mean Streets, which was a 4.
Rating: 4


One of the more satisfying puzzle solutions in the game

Interface and Inventory
The interface is initially very daunting, with numerous buttons and options that have non-standard uses. After an hour or two or play though, combined with a couple of manual read throughs, it all becomes pretty easy to use and perfectly functional. There are definitely some counterintuitive parts to it, and I struggled to figure out how to use software once in bases in particular, but overall I think they did a decent job with the layout. There are some flaws that irritated me though, not least of all that there are only four save game slots. In a game where saving and restoring is a critical part of making long-term progress, having to save over the top of slots caused much anxiety. Not being able to erase software once in a base was also irritating, particularly when I faced challenging RAM limitations. Spending over five minutes breaking through ICE, only to find that there’s a software library filled with awesome warez for which you have no room for, really sucks. I found myself having to exit the base, delete some of my software, and then fight my way back into the base all over again (without the use of the erased software), more than a handful of times. Movement is handled adequately, and really isn’t a major part of the game, although it was annoying that I couldn’t stop walking once I started, unless I ran into something. That leaves only the inventory, which was in a basic list format. It was fine at first, but eventually became unruly as there was no way to order my warez and skills, meaning I had to scroll through pages every time I wanted to select one (which is every few seconds in cyberspace). All up I think the interface worked perfectly well, with just a bunch of niggling flaws lowering my score.
Rating: 4


I can't tell you how much I wanted to reorder these warez so I could find Slow, ArmorAll and Jammies easily

Story and Setting
Hmmmm, this isn’t going to turn out particularly high either. I’m genuinely interested in reading the Neuromancer book after playing the game, but that has more to do with the obvious potential than what was actually implemented here. I have a lot of issues with the way the plot was revealed, not least of all that I had no motivations as a player. It’s fine to set a player down in a well realised world and let them find their way, but at some point you have to give them a reason to do anything at all. My curiosity pushed me forward, but I don’t think I did much at all in the game because the plot suggested I should. There’s also way too much irrelevant information thrown at the player, with a lot of it clearly there to reference the book, which I hadn’t read. As an example, within the first five minutes of playing I was told that I owed FFargo $2000, Armitage gave me $10000 to work for him, and I was told that one of Lonny Zone’s girls was looking for me. I never met any of these people, and none of these bits of information led to anything! Worst of all was that I once again broke the storyline by doing things in an order the game wasn’t expecting. The game was confusing enough already, without being told things had already occurred that clearly hadn’t. The setting was never going to be an issue, as a futuristic Chiba City is a perfect place for a cyberpunk game to be set. Unfortunately, there are some oddities that detracted from the end result, such as Donut World and the House of Pong, which felt completely out of place (I’ll punish that in the E category though).
Rating: 4


I wasted so much time being concerned about topics that had no relevance

Sound and Graphics
I’ll say straight up that one of the first things I did while playing Neuromancer was to look through the manual to see if I could turn the sound off. I put up with it for a couple of lengthy sessions, but found it to be completely unrewarding. There are minimal sound effects and what there is becomes repetitive quickly, and the theme song is very irritating after you’ve heard it more than ten times (it replays every time a day comes to a close in game time). The main issue is the quality of the sound, with the PC speaker blips and blops dating back to the earliest games on this blog. I’ll describe the graphics as adequate, but that’s being pretty generous. As with the Manhunter series, there’s some nice detail to some of the screens, but the colour scheme is atrocious and the overall quality of the images on the lower end of the spectrum. I tried to use interesting screenshots while blogging through the game, but there was no way I could avoid the overall repetition that occurs due to most of the game being spent on text only screens. On the plus side, I do think the cyberspace sections were handled pretty well, and the visual representations of the Artificial Intelligences were effective. It would have been nice though if they’d been able to use different graphical effects (even just colours) for each different skill or piece of software launched. I imagine Neuromancer would have been much more enjoyable with better sound and graphics, so I’m giving it a low 3.
Rating: 3


If you look closely, the detail isn't bad. Shame about the colours and resolution though!

Environment and Atmosphere
The real world environment of Neuromancer is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the world is well defined, with a distinctive futuristic feel to it. On the other hand, as I’ve mentioned previously, some of the locations feel really out of place, and seem to be included for comedic value only (House of Pong!!!). The majority of the game is spent online though, either surfing the net or traversing cyberspace. I do think these environments are well handled, even if they are very repetitive in their use. There’s no denying that Neuromancer has atmosphere, but the majority of it is built upon information that the player reads rather than the environments themselves! All the extra (and for the most part irrelevant) information that I’ve criticised in other categories undoubtedly helps to make the player feel like they are part of something big, and that they can have an influence on proceedings in both positive and negative ways. I can’t argue that it’s more realistic to have heaps of information strewn around that isn’t relevant to the plot, and I think the use of the PAX for daily news is a good idea, particularly when the player starts to see their own name and actions amongst the articles. Fighting ICE and AIs is at first quite exciting too, particularly when one wrong move can result in death, but it gets pretty old after a while, particularly when there is no longer any real threat.
Rating: 5


The News in Brief was also a more suitable place to insert humour into the game, with the above being a fine example

Dialogue and Acting
There’s not all that much dialogue between characters, but there sure is a heck of a lot of text in Neuromancer. It might seem a ridiculous number, but I actually took 2384 screenshots while playing the game, which shows just how many pages of information the player is subjected to on the numerous bases they are required the visit. I really have no idea how anyone would have completed this game back in the pre-screenshot era, as I found myself looking over all my screenshots regularly, looking for things that made no sense to me when I first read them but probably would later on. A lot of the information is well written, and there were numerous times I found myself wondering whether some of it came from the pen of William Gibson, although unsurprisingly I did notice quite a few spelling and grammar issues along the way (excusable given the sheer amount of text). The most impressive thing about it all is that it contains a consistent language that remains intelligible despite attempting to represent a future generation of youths. Probably the biggest negative I have regarding it is that there are few instances of individuality assigned to the inhabitants, with the vast majority of voices have no real defining features. That being said, the Rastafarian dudes on Zion sure did have a unique voice in the game, but my inexperience with that style of language made it pretty hard to decipher.
Rating: 5


I'm not sure I do "know wha mean"!

4 + 4 + 4 + 3 +5 + 5 = 25, divided by 60 = 41.6667, which is 42 rounded up! Hmmm, that does feel a bit low, as I really did enjoy the game to a certain extent. I'll use my discretionary point to raise it to 43. If I look over the year of 1989, that leaves Neuromancer well in front of Emmanuelle and Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess, and just in front of Codename: ICEMAN, which feels right. It also feels right that it sits behind Manhunter 2 and Mean Streets, as they were better games for completely different reasons.


43 it is! Did anyone predict that? Oooohhhhh...boukensha nailed it, but unfortunately he did so after the cut-off date, which rules him out. That leaves the next closest as the winner, which is Jean-Jacques with 42! Interestingly, his prediction was the lowest, so you guys really thought this game was going to rate higher than this. I wonder if you still feel that way? Have I been too harsh? Most tellingly, both Lars-Erik and Ilmari gave it 49, and they've both played it, so I'd be interested to hear their thoughts. Anyway, congratulations Jean-Jacques! I have your email address, so will send through your code for the Space Quest Collection.

CAP Distribution for Neuromancer:

100 CAPs for Lars-Erik
• Sponsor Award - 20 CAPs - For sponsoring the blog with free games
• Legend Award – 20 CAPs – For playing the game with me and completing it without assistance
• Companion Assist Award – 10 CAPs – For helping Zenic through a tough spot
• Bonus Companion Award – 10 CAPs – For regular comments during a two month slog
• Tex Murphy Trailer Award – 10 CAPs – For announcing the release of the Tesla Effect trailer
• Case-mon Award – 10 CAPs – For telling me who Case is
• Genre Support Award – 5 CAPs – For commenting about an adventure game sale on GOG
• Broken Age News Award – 5 CAPs – For announcing the Broken Age release news
• Genre Support Award – 5 CAPs – For commenting about an adventure game sale on GOG
• Enthusiasm Award – 5 CAPs – For building a library of the games I’ll be playing up to 1994!

80 CAPs for Ilmari
• Legend Award – 20 CAPs – For playing the game with me and completing it without assistance
• Companion Assist Award – 10 CAPs – For helping Zenic through a tough spot
• Interface Assistance Award – 10 CAPs – For explaining how software is run from within a base
• Bonus Companion Award – 10 CAPs – For regular comments during a two month slog
• Body Part Discount Award – 10 CAPs – For figuring out the “use” of the bargaining skill
• Jammies Award – 10 CAPs – For explaining the use of Jammies
• BattleChess Award – 10 CAPs – For explaining the use of BattleChess 4.0

75 CAPs for Canageek
• Resident Expert Award – 10 CAPs – For sharing his extensive cyberpunk / Neuromancer knowledge
• Kickstarter Wrap Award – 10 CAPs – For covering off all the latest adventure games on Kickstarter
• Kickstarter Award – 10 CAPs – For announcing a new Kickstarter adventure game
• Tears for Fears Award – 10 CAPs – A truly wise comparison
• Cyberpunk Article Award – 10 CAPs – For discovering a very relevant article about cyberpunk
• Google Adventure Game Award – 10 CAPs – For announcing the cool like Google game
• Wilson Award – 5 CAPs – For picking upon my Castaway reference
• Geeking Out Award – 5 CAPs – For raising the geek stakes by discussing the reality of the 68000000
• Genre Support Award – 5 CAPs – For commenting about an adventure game sale on GOG

55 CAPs for Zenic Reverie
• True Companion Award – 10 CAPs – For playing the game with me and completing it
• Technical Assistance Award – 10 CAPs – For describing a bug in the game
• Bonus Companion Award – 10 CAPs – For regular comments during a two month slog
• Cryptology Award – 10 CAPs – For telling me how to increase my skill to level four
• Beach Skill Award – 10 CAPs – For explaining how I got off the beach with skills
• Genre Support Award – 5 CAPs – For commenting about an adventure game sale on GOG

50 CAPs for Cush1978
• Mother Goose Award – 30 CAPs – For solving my Mother Goose riddle
• Monty Python Award – 20 CAPs – For figuring out my Meaning of Life reference

35 CAPs for mpx
• Kickstarter Award – 10 CAPs – For announcing a new Kickstarter adventure game
• Genre Support Award – 5 CAPs – For commenting about an adventure game sale on GOG
• Genre Support Award – 5 CAPs – For commenting about a new adventure game on GOG
• Genre Support Award – 5 CAPs – For commenting about an adventure game sale on GOG
• Genre Support Award – 5 CAPs – For commenting about an adventure game sale on GOG
• Genre Support Award – 5 CAPs – For commenting about a new adventure game on GOG

30 CAPs for JosephCurwen
• Keats Award – 20 CAPs – For figuring out my Clipping Angel’s Wings reference
• Sharing Award – 10 CAPs – For sharing his childhood memories with us

20 CAPs for TBD
• Dracula Award – 10 CAPs – For describing his experience with the first two Dracula games
• Genre Support Award – 5 CAPs – For commenting about an adventure game sale on GOG
• Genre Support Award – 5 CAPs – For commenting about an adventure game sale on GOG

10 CAPs for Jean-Jacques
• Psychic Prediction Award – 10 CAPs – For predicting what score I would give Neuromancer

10 CAPs for Olivier Galibert
• Burning Chrome Award – 10 CAPs – For explaining the Burning Chrome reference at the spaceport

10 CAPs for boukensha
• Translation Award – 10 CAPs – For translating some of the Japanese words that appear in the game

10 CAPs for Lupus Yonderboy
• Fanboy Award – 10 CAPs – For being named Lupus Yonderboy

10 CAPs for Aperama
• Kickstarter Release Award – 5 CAPs – For announcing the release of Larry 1
• Good Advice Award – 5 CAPs – For reminding me to wait for the sales on GOG

10 CAPs for Tymoguin
• Kickstarter Award – 10 CAPs – For announcing a new Kickstarter adventure game

5 CAPs for Reiko
• Peace of Mind Award – 5 CAPs – For checking to make sure I hadn’t lost all my spreadsheets!

5 CAPs for Charles
• Peace of Mind Award – 5 CAPs – For checking to make sure I hadn’t lost all my spreadsheets!

5 CAPs for Novacek
• Genre Support Award – 5 CAPs – For commenting about an adventure game sale on GOG

5 CAPs for Jarikith
• Genre Support Award – 5 CAPs – For commenting about a new adventure game on Steam

5 CAPs for Laukku
• Broken Age Award – 5 CAPs – For reminding me to change the Kickstarter name for Broken Age

5 CAPs for Knurek
• Kuang Eleven Award – 5 CAPs – For letting me know the novel reference for this piece of software

54 comments:

  1. Probably not harsh. After reading your posts, I felt like my love for the game was essentially pure nostalgia - the game as a game was not top notch. Interplay really did some weird things with that property...

    I suppose that anyone who read that book would have a rather difficult time adapting it into a game. But I think an effort to be stricter to the plot of the book would have been welcome.

    That said, it would have come out slightly higher (46) in my own tally under your system. Had I rated it before your posts, it would have been higher, which I find interesting.

    There is something about digging into these games so deeply, and in close proximity with each other, that really takes the gloss off of them and reveals their sometimes ugly faces behind the masks of sentimentality we give them.

    Games like King's Quest III and IV used to be virtually worshipped before the internet adventure game review/discussion scene blew up. I can say firsthand that in speaking to people, those games were revered. Then we, as a fanbase, began scrutinizing them, replaying them, analyzing them... and now when I think "King's Quest IV" I think "Whale tongue puzzle," and when I think "King's Quest III" I think "Falling off the mountain path."

    Which leads me to ask a question: do you see yourself posting many posts discussing the philosophy of adventure games, in the manner than Chet over at CRPGAddict does the philosophy of RPGs? There is a lot to talk about, for sure.

    Onward to Space Quest III!

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  2. No, I don't think you were too harsh. My 49 ws a complete guess as I'd never played Neuromancer before now. In fact, by my own calculations I'd have kept it at 42 as there were just too many annoyances in there, coupled with a few things that break character as you've already noted.

    I also felt that they came half way and the rushed the ending, as the further you got on the bases the more "this article is checked out" messages you got instead of full text like in the first half of the game. I'd also expect more "adventure gaming" in the last half, rather than just the routine of cyberspace over and over again.

    The writing was good though as you mentioned, and no wonder as they had Michael Stackpole in there. Combined with names such as Brian Fargo though, I'd expected more from Neuromancer.

    Would you be opposed to adding an "Adjusted rating" column to your spreadsheet? Somehow I always get confused when looking at it and not recognizing some of the scores ("Wait, didn't Mean Streets get a 53?").

    (By the way, you can stop walking by pressing space)

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    1. No kidding on the expecting more from Micheal Stackpole and Brian Fargo. :( Doubly so on the writing side!

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  3. You forgot Zenic – I think he was even more optimistic than me and Lars-Erik. (Interesting that usually most of the guesses have been too high – I suppose we are an optimistic lot or just have fond memories and/or high expectations.)

    I was among the minority who had actually played the game once, although I had given up soon after reaching cyberspace, so I had to make my estimate based on only the first half of the game. I had noticed that the gameplay resembled Mean Streets by being puzzle-light and information-heavy, so I thought the score might otherwise end up somewhere near MS, but lose major points for bad graphics and silliness. I also remembered the clever hacking of a law enforcement base, which you mentioned, and I supposed the rest of the game might have some equally memorable puzzles, which would make the total a little bit under MS.

    Well, my mind was quickly changed when I actually progressed in cyberspace and realized there wasn’t going to be anything else, but mindless base raiding for the rest of the game. I still enjoyed reading all the not so relevant information hidden in bases (even if there was increasingly little of that, as Lars-Erik pointed out), but it really wasn’t a proper reward for the repetitive game play with almost no challenge at all, especially as lot of the heavy artillery was just plain useless: ROM construct, Cybereyes with unlimited RAM etc. were just decoration with very little use, when there could have been actual puzzles requiring them.

    All in all, I’d say 43 is fair enough. It was an intriguing game and playing it wasn’t a torture, but in the end it failed to live up to its promises.

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    1. Yeah, I didn't really think about it, knew nothing about the game, and just gave a 50 as a mid-range guess. A 43 sounds fair.

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  4. I bow before your skill to make a properly half-good game sound like a really very good game.

    When you think of it, most of the game is rinse-repeat, like Mean Streets.

    I think I will continue reading great articles about these games instead of climbing down into hell and playing them.
    You really do have a knack for that!

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  5. Well... I think that's fair. From your description I don't think it is a good game. However, I do have to say that now I want to read Neuromancer :p

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    1. It's a decent book, go for it! It would be interesting to know how you liked the book after reading about the game.

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    2. Ok, challenge accepted!!! :)

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    3. Then read Snow Crash right after, and revel in how much better it is.

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    4. Will do, I've already borrowed that one from a friend.

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    5. Ok, I finally finished it (just more than one year, yay me?). It's not bad, but I find the narrative confusing at times. Too many jumps from one scene to another without properly introducing it.

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  6. Once again you deserve a huge applause for your Courage with this game!
    i gave up quickly !

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  7. I want to be fair, here. I put down 48, I checked - and that was because of sheer, absolute guesswork. :)

    That said - this game is one I'm rather hopeful that we don't see another of its ilk any time soon. We don't really need speed, here - but I think the amount of people remembering this fondly were kinda dwarfed by the number that couldn't get into the game to begin with (and while that's true of a lot of games - at least the rest haven't taken this long!) I can see a few games that are likely to go by pretty quick, though, so my tone might well be turning before I know it!

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  8. Sale on GoG:
    Amerzone: The Explorer Legacy
    Atlantis: The Lost Tales
    Atlantis 2: Beyond Atlantis
    Atlantis 3: The New World
    Post Mortem
    Return to Mysterious Island
    Still Life
    Still Life 2
    Syberia
    Syberia 2

    Ok, I swear, I didn't come in to work early JUST to post these before anyone else had the chance....However, I did take advantage of the fact.

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    1. Recently my family has been emptying out a storage unit we've had for a while to cover general overflow when people die, get divorced, etc. ... and I found original boxed copies of Syberia and Syberia 2, which I've never played. Any opinions from the knowledgeable experts here?

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    2. I'm playing Syberia for the first time. It's painfully linear; you have to talk to Person A before you pick up Item B. You simply can't/won't find Item B first. Every time you advance the story, you find yourself backtracking to find out what's changed.

      The good point is that the game moves in "chapters"; once you're done in an area, you move on and you don't (so far) come back, so the areas you have to cover are small.

      In short, don't bother "exploring" or trying to find other things to do. Concentrate on the task at hand because that's all you can do.

      Otherwise, the story, atmosphere, art, and play control are good. It's an engaging game. Fire it up and explore the village you start in. If you like it, great. If not, it doesn't get better or change much in tone and atmosphere from there.

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    3. Syberia 1 and 2, along with the Longest Journey series, are the reasons why this blog exists. They made me realise that adventure games aren't dead.

      I agree that they are linear, but it's tough to keep things open AND have a top notch story. These games trump the vast majority of older games when it comes to story sophistication.

      Delete
    4. Oh, I definitely think the good outweighs the bad. I don't mind the linearity too much. Without spoiling, I got frustrated going back and forth between the train station and the university a hundred times. Talk to Person A before Person B will tell you about something so you can ask Person C so they'll hand you Item X. Doesn't matter if you've talked to B and C before. Coupled with the fact that your character can either walk slowly or run a little less slowly, it can take some time.

      The artwork is fantastic, but the varying camera perspectives screwed me up in the same place. I completely missed the screen with the fgngvba znfgre, so I explored the entire station and university before gnyxvat gb gur fgngvba znfgre who sets off the chain of events at that location.

      Still, not enough to make me quit or dislike the game, but I did a lot of running around. I'm not quite out of the area, but I'm about to be. V unir gb trg n cnff gb nyybj gur genva gb yrnir.

      I thought The Longest Journey was great. Unfortunately, the dumbest and most difficult puzzle (in my opinion) is in the first area. Once you get through the first chapter, the game gets better and more intuitive. I've never played the sequel to either game. I have Dreamfall. I'm not sure I have Syberia 2.

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  9. Glad to see you moving forward Trickster. This is a nice summary. There's a lot of lost potential in this game; so many story threads seem untied. I'm a little over halfway through the book. I don't think you're Case from the book, but there's an awful lot connection to the same elements form the book that I'm not certain.

    In any case, I don't have much to add to your analysis and I didn't take proper notes, so I skipped blogging about it myself. I might make a post comparing the story in the game to the book. So far there isn't much overlap except for certain characters and setting.

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  10. CAP Distribution complete. Yes, that took me hours!

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    1. That's totally unfair! I told you not to spend more money on GoG when you didn't -have- to. Not just not to spend it! (CD Projekt RED are possibly one of the few 'good guys' left in the realms of gaming.) :)

      Delete
    2. 1994? That was then, up to 2001 now. :p

      To be fair though, I can see a good number that I'm pretty sure we won't be playing for a number of reasons, and I think there's a couple of games that are distinctly missing from the list. I guess we'll have to do a QA as we move through the years.

      On the plus side, there's plenty of games I've never heard about that I'm really looking forward to trying out.

      And games I've heard about and still not played, such as SQ3 which is coming up!

      Delete
    3. I've edited the award Aperama. I too think GOG is the one the best things to ever happen to gaming, so I don't want to give the impression I'm not supporting them.

      Delete
  11. Leaderboard Updated

    Time for Space Quest III!

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  12. Huh, so was there somebody who told you about Precinct before me? Oh well.

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    1. Yup, by two days. :p
      http://advgamer.blogspot.com/2013/07/game-32-neuromancer-oceans-one.html?showComment=1373951529594#c7392805875132044071

      Delete
  13. Hey, thanks, I certainly won't turn down CAPS, but...what did I actually do?

    I have a copy of the Neuromancer book that a friend gave me that I've been meaning to read since you were playing the game, and haven't gotten around to it. Now that the game's finished and we still never had much insight into the motivation of the PC, maybe it would make more sense if I read the book.

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    1. It doesn't. I don't believe it's the same main character. I could be wrong, but I think the tug captain talks about Case burning out the cyberspace jack. Case is the main character of the book. Armitage also plays a big role in the book, but only a minor part in the game (so minor you never meet him).

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    2. Indeed. You seem to be following loosely in Case's footsteps and cleaning up after him. (Though I can't help the thought that this "cleaning up" is a kind of genocide...)

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  14. Sharing award! I feel like I'm in 1st grade again!

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    1. If you continue with such good behaviour, you might just get a Blue Peter Badge! ;)

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  15. Sorry for joining this blog late. But I noticed that The Scoop is missing from your list. Will you be playing it?

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    1. I'd never even heard of this game before (and immediately looked it up). It looks rather unnervingly like it has the dreaded time issue akin to Emmanuelle (and to a lesser extent Neuromancer) with its repeated restarts.... Which is to say, it's too late to look back, cough ahem cough.

      (Have you played this game, then?)

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    2. Welcome Kenny, hope you'll stick around!

      Unfortunately The Scoop doesn't match the criteria for being selected for the blog. If you take a look at the this post: http://advgamer.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/companion-assist-points-explained.html you'll find this criteria for potential games:

      Potential Game – a game that is listed on Moby Games as part of the adventure genre (excluding interactive fiction games) and has at least 10 votes, or appears on the Wikipedia Notable Graphic Adventure Games list.

      As far as I can tell, The Scoop doesn't appear at the Wikipedia list, and as it only has 8 votes on Mobygames it won't be featured on the blog.

      As an adventure gamer though, I'm always interested in experiencing new games. Do you recommend it?

      Delete
    3. Unless someone or a group of people put CAPS into making sure it is played. From the sounds of it, it isn't worth it, but you never know.

      Delete
    4. Well, it might be purely nostalgia playing up, but I loved the atmosphere and the first use of facial expressions by NPCs that provide clues on whether they are lying or not. Also, Sex Olympic s isn't in the list also. XD

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    5. Well! I think we need to start a CAPS collection; Start posting adventure game sales from Steam and GoG and you can build up some CAPS. Then we can chip in and force Trickster to play it. (Bwahahaha)

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    6. Definitely looks like an adventure game, but might also be as bad as Psycho. Welcome Kenny, I hope you have some other gems coming up in later years.

      As for spending CAPs that's always an option, but we could also go through Mobygames and vote games up. :D

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    7. I can also help write up a wikipedia article with people, provided accurate sources and someone to help me write the body of the text.

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    8. @Canageek - I can never match the speed of posting offers like you guys. XD As for writing Wiki-articles, well... I'm not a bad writer, but I could never write verbose texts seriously without slipping in some jokes or or quotes with double entendre. Kind of like Kenny McCormick in South Park and which is why I should never be allowed to give lengthy speeches or write any non-fictional articles.

      @Zenic Reverie - I got less CAPs than a Fallout brahmin, sadly. I could vote for the game in Moby. But here's the Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scoop_(video_game).

      I mean, how many adventure games have you seen thus far to have NPCs with actual daily schedules? =P

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    9. I'm a lot slower now that I have a full-time job where I can't spend large chunks of the day reading blogs, coupled with spending several nights a week out of the house. Heck, I'm not even reading each post the same day they come out!

      Also, while GoG is pretty well covered, I know there are steam sales that are never posted to the blog, generally of obscure or smaller games.

      I could help keep you on track with your writing, as an editor, and as long as the facts in the article were good and well-sourced, I'm sure the wiki community wouldn't mind removing them as needed.

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    10. I'm in a similar predicament! XD

      Time spent on work and commuting basically wipes out all the time I have for the day (psst... I'm typing this instead of working now =P).

      It'd be a great pity if it won't be covered though. It's quite a gem really, with many features that are unbelievably advanced for its time.

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  16. Thanks, mates. Hell yeah, I'd recommend it.

    Also, the time limit is actually plot-related, unlike the earlier ICOM games that is used as a pressure mechanic.

    Basically, you are given a week to find out whodunnit.

    Failing which, the killer would silence you for your attempts to uncover his/her identity.

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  17. Time for the Trickster Review!

    Well, I can no longer say that you don't give us a feel for the game. However, I find your very detailed style doesn't mesh with this type of game: It would be the same as Chet detailing out every random encounter he hit. I think you could tune it back a little, both to save you blogging time, and to prevent us from feeling a game is longer/more draggy then it is. For example, in this last one, you told us the contents of every software library. I would have summarized the upgrades you got each session at the end, plus any new or particularly useful software: Unless you are deliberately writing a walkthrough, in which case, go ahead. But yeah, I'd summarize a lot more of the individual encounters, picking out interesting ones to talk about, plus a few examples of a prototypical encounter for that game, to give people a feel for it.

    Just some advice in the interests of future games not taking 2 months, since you said most of the time it took was writing and not actually playing.

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    1. I certainly don't want to get bogged down for two months again if I can help it. I do think that Neuromancer is likely to be an anomaly (as was Mean Streets to a lesser extent), but I will try to judge how much detail to use before I get started in future. I regretted the amount of detail I was using about 5 posts in, but didn't want to suddenly brush over hours at a time once I was committed.

      I'm sure some of the readers can warn me whether a game is likely to suit my style or not before I commence. :)

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    2. I really liked the amount of detail, despite never having played the game, I got a real feel for the world building that is attempted (and to a certain extent) achieved here, even if it did feel like you were lost for extended periods of time with no idea what you should be aiming for next.

      This sounds a lot like early shadowrun, which is by no means a bad thing, and the zeerust just hangs off every portion of this game, but that gives it a sort of particular charm.

      I enjoyed reading the large number of posts here, but can see where things were reported that weren't really ever mentioned again, that could have been trimmed for fat, but until you've already finished it's hard to know where the trimmings are!

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    3. Shadowrun is in fact based on the setting of the book.

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    4. Well, Shadowrun is based on the genre. There are a number of works that influence it; Yes, Neuromancer is a big one, probably the biggest, but I don't know if I'd say it was specifically based on it; the balkanization of the US was probably influenced by Snow Crash, for example, and giving the Native Americans/First Nations peoples their own countries and having them get magic first was a common theme in 80s science fiction (Andre Norton's books for example).

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  18. I believe that scribbling notes is much better methodology than taking thousands of screenshots. For the former you analyze the text during play and decide what information is/may be significant. For the latter you remove a thinking approach until you are stuck. Also, browsing through the screenshots takes much more time than looking at notes. Well, my notes for this game took full one-side 6 sheets of paper and at least 1 of them was used for the most effective step-by-step playthrough.

    Seems like there are some port differences as I've played an Amiga version which has been released year later than PC version and almost all fights with AI (obviously except the last two: Greystoke and Neuromancer) weren't piece of cake. I don't think using Ninja 4000 except the best deck Ono-Sendai Cyberspace VII affected the fights difficulty.

    I disagree regarding counterintuitive software usage in bases. I think you are mainly referring to Scout software as you have complained about it earlier. If I remember correctly this software can be downloaded from WORLDCHESS database and there is also a Critic's Corner explaining how to use this piece of software. I really don't know how to comment such obvious and intuitive usage. And it does not have anything with the fact that I used mouse instead of keyboard, ‘cause both control methods require opening the Inventory where all the items and warez are accessible in the Real World.

    In our reality there are many weird cults, mysterious associations, why there would not be any in the distant cyberpunk future? There is a place for weirdos like Pong fanatics.

    It's a shame that PAX messages end after 3-4 days of gameplay and no new mails appear in other databases.

    Final Rating: 8/10

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  19. Hey guys, how can I edit post? Seems like I made a minor mistake in my previous message, I finished the Title with Ninja 5000, not 4000.

    Forgot to mention another platform difference. In Amiga version Cyberspace 1.0 softwarez does not stop using up money in cyberspace. However at that time I had enough money for loitering around.

    It is worth to add that the Title has a very irritating copy protection: every time the Player enters PAX one has to use a code-wheel. I would understand if it has to be used once for initial entrance to the system but every time? Fortunately at later stages after stealing significant amount of money PAX is useless.

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    1. Blogger doesn't really allow editing comments. The only thing we admins could do is to delete your previous comment and then let you add a new one. But I think that having your second comment amend and add to your first comment is quite enough.

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